Phone Photography, Can I get great shots on my phone?

Simple answer is yes.  This shot taken with my Samsung 7s in raw (dng file)

All the images are taken with my phone in this post.

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But it may depend on the type of phone you have.

The newer the phone, the better chance you will have getting good or even great images.

Like everything else practice and knowing what conditions your phone captures the best shots and what the various settings can do is a big plus, and like most DLSRs it is much better if you learn to shoot in “raw” (listed as a dng file when saved)

Most phones and cameras will save both a jpeg and a raw image, that means if you need to post immediately on social media you can do that easily with the jpeg.

Why RAW, simple you can do so much more when processing the photo and the image does not degrade overtime like a jpeg.  So even though your processing skills may be a little rough, you can come back at a later date and do it again.

There are several free online phone  and youtube photo courses, the same can be found for processing your images.

Yes you can buy the latest high end phone and the photograpy results are pretty amazing and getting better all the time.

For me the phone came “free” with the plan and I was looking for something that had the ability to shoot in raw.

Lets be frank they still fall short in what some of the DLSR’s can do but, for general purpose photography they are very good and they can do some pretty neat high quality images and movies.

I am really liking the phone images for the big landscape shots the wider image capture really puts you in the place you are taking the image at.

You will still need to try and follow the photography rule of thirds and “framing ” your scene capture.


A tripod, unipod or selfie stick  and the use of your ear buds to take the picture really helps to stabilize the image.

As for the various movie functions, (you may have to download a camera app for this depending on your phone) the image quality is quite good,  just remember uplaoding them to facebook the movies get a little degraded.

This is from a canoe on a tripod.

Many cameras also have some very neat functions, there is the slowmotion and a time lapse function, in my phone it is called Hyperlapse.

It is great for sunsets/rises or for clouds and wind scenes.  In this movie, it is of Lawren Harris’s “On the Agawa” and in his painting there is a very distinct shadow and this shows you the shadow in the painting happening.

Here is a link to his painting and one of my still images with the phone.


As for the classic milky waterfall shots or night photography phone cameras are getting much better and some phones very good, not so much mine but I have seen some very good images and in many cases the phone camera program will do the work for you.

This evening shot of the cresent moon and Venus.  On my phone there is a fair bit of camera “noise” but I was able to reduce it in the processing of the raw image.Point farms-211231

In the same image pre processed, you can see there is some “pixilation” (grainy) in the shot.  Trouble is you don’t see it till you make the image bigger on your screen, in stories like this or pics posted on small devices you don’t really see it.

Which may make you ask why shoot in raw and process it?

Well that is also pretty simple, for me I like the higher quality, and if you happen to capture   “the shot” or a very special family moment it will not look so good as a large image and will only degrade over time.

Every time you open a jpeg file you loose a little bit of info so the image will degrade.  Early on when digital was taking over from film I was leary of working in raw or the cameras did not shoot in raw, but I did learn to save my good images as  “TIF” file.  Those images are still as vibrant now as then.

Another major bonus is you can take pictures of old family pictures and you can make them come to life again when you shoot in raw and process them.

This shot was just practice play, going for a longer exposure, sort of a neat capture.  How the water came out so smooth was a neat surprise when it was actually pretty choppy. Image taken after the sun had gone into the haze. Taken on a tripod while standing in the water to get closer.

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This was as the sun was still up taken with a tripod.

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As for image storage, I do not keep my images on the phone, I prefer a hard wire transfer right to my PC and process them there.  I also copy and save them on a second storage unit.

Remember backup your images, once lost they can not be replaced!  I learned that the hard way quite a few years ago it is not a lesson you want to learn that way.

As for capturing images – Practice, Practice Practice!

I still have issues with my fumble fingers and 12 thumbs, and sometimes at the most inopportune times 🙂  Along with changeing settings accidently or somehow switching it to a selfie shot or twitching while taking a shot.

I have tried the voice command for taking images but yelling at my phone just does not look so good while you are out in public 😉

Even with my DLSR I prefer to wait for those magical moments where just the right natural light makes the image (just like old school film days) It just doesn’t seem right faking it with a specialty filter.

I like to show what I see and what you can see with your own eyes if you go to the same place.

On a canoe trip I put it in airplane mode to prolong battery life, I also carry a couple of small battery backs that can recharge the phone more than three times each.  On my week long trip to the Agawa last year I only had to recharge twice which I found really good since I used 3 of my 4 DLSR batteries in the cool weather and those battery packs are only a fraction of the cost compared to the DLSR batteries.

So yes you can get great shots!

Agawa Bay early October.

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